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Obama Has Spoken, Now He Must Lead


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15 February 2013, 12:34 PM
Americans can’t wait for Congress to address climate change
President Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber on Feb. 12, 2013.  (Chuck Kennedy / White House)

Last week, President Obama demanded that Congress take action on climate change, or else he would.

But, after years of political gridlock on the climate issue, coupled with rising seas and worsening droughts, one thing is clear: the nation simply cannot afford to wait any longer to take action. Though Congress may eventually pull together and pass a climate bill, the president must not wait on that uncertain prospect. He must act now.

After all, today the U.S. is farther from enacting a nationwide plan to reduce carbon emissions than it was four years ago. Congress has failed miserably. And though America’s greenhouse gas emissions are beginning to decline, the rate at which they’re doing so is nowhere near what we need to avoid catastrophic climate change.

President Obama has said repeatedly that for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more. But time is running out.

We must act now, first by unshackling the EPA, which is tasked with protecting our health and our environment. The agency’s first order of business in the climate change fight should be to adopt limits on industrial carbon pollution from power plants, which account for the biggest share of our carbon pollution. EPA has both the duty and the power to implement this critical step, but has so far only proposed measures limiting emissions from brand-new power plants. Congress directed the agency to address these pollutants, the Supreme Court confirmed the agency’s duty, and the president should ensure that the agency acts swiftly to cut carbon emission from both existing and new power plants.

The president must also make good on his promise to boost energy efficiency by cutting in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years. This move will not only cut carbon emissions, it will keep money in the hands of American consumers and out of the pockets of the dirty fossil fuel industry.

Finally, President Obama must reject proposals that tie us to an even-deeper dependence on fossil fuels. He cherishes an “all of the above” approach to energy, even though that approach does not differentiate between energy sources that put us on the right track to addressing climate change and the sources that actually make the problem worse. It make no sense to express a commitment to addressing climate change and simultaneously pursue ever-larger investments in ever-more extreme forms of fossil fuel energy.

For years, in the face of climate inaction, Earthjustice has used the power of laws like the Clean Air Act to fight climate change. Earthjustice's landmark court victory, which put in motion strict new limits on toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants, drives the retirement of many dirty plants and a shift to cleaner power. We are also targeting oil and gas drilling and refining, which generate large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane—a potent climate polluter. And, our work on reducing black carbon, or soot, will decrease the rate of snow and ice melt in the Arctic.

Earthjustice’s legal work has helped set the wheels in motion for tackling the most pressing issue of our time. Now, President Obama must take the reins and lead the nation in reducing pollution, preparing our communities for the consequences of climate change and speeding the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. How quickly and aggressively he steps forward will demonstrate the seriousness with which he takes the challenge of climate change.

If Obama was serious about climate change, he wouldn't have fast-tracked Shell's drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, off Alaska. Obama's conception of energy independence means more domestic energy production. We'll see how he acts on the Keystone pipeline.

Obama can't lead because most of what is being said is a CAN'T CANT by various groups such as E350 on fracking and pipelines,
Three actions have to be taken to recover the environment for our kids to survive beyond 2050:
I. WE HAVE TO MAKE THE SUN OUR SOLE ENERGY SOURCE
II. WE HAVE TO MAKE OUR MOUNTING MESSES OF BIOWASTES( AN ALREADY HARVESTED FOREVER BIOFUEL SUPPLY) INTO THE KEY RESOURCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY. If we do not get action on biowastes including sewage solids going soon, biowastes will be having ever mounting escapes of drugs, toxics and germs and the resulting messes may be what kills our kids' futures!!!!!!!!!!
III. WE HAVE TO REESTABLISH THE CCC PROGRAM OF ROOSEVELT TO BE GETTING RETRAPPING OF THE EXCESS OF CO2 ON EARTH.
I have stated details about these 3 actions including major benefits for health and cleaner environment on the UCS blog "The Equation" and NRDC's Switchboard.
Dr. J. Singmaster, Environmental Chemist, Ph.D. UCDavis, 1975

We need to stand united. make our voices be heard as one. Are we going to continue to sit by watching them kill everything in their wake? We need to become a force to be reckoned with! We insist on renewable energy! Make a human link around the country/worldwide. Take Action! Do you remember "Hands across America"?

As the damage from climate-fueled extreme weather and drought increases, it couldn't be more clear that rejecting Keystone XL is an important step to take to protect our world.

The Keystone XL pipeline would transport up to 35 million gallons of oil a day from Canada's tar sands -- one of the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive energy sources in the world -- to the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, has called the Keystone pipeline "game over" for the climate. The Keystone pipeline cannot go forward without State Department approval, and as our leader, President Obama, you should stop the project permanently.

There can be no progress on climate change as long as you are lighting the fuse to the carbon bomb of the tar sands.

This decision is easy. From a business perspective, no other possible energy investment could provide fewer jobs or less benefit to the U.S. than an oil export pipeline. And from an environmental and climate perspective, it is an absolute catastrophe.

It's past time to shut off the flow of handouts to the oil, gas, and coal industries, and to take away their right to use the atmosphere as an open sewer into which to dump their carbon for free. This industry, simply because it is rich, has been cosseted too long.

The Keystone XL pipeline unequivocally fails the “national interest” test in a fair review of the science, the costs, and the risks. Stopping Keystone XL and the exploitation of the Alberta tar sands is a national imperative--stop this project once and for all and move America Beyond Oil to clean energy for our planet's sake and for the sake of every American living today and those that come after us.

Instead of wasting time and energy on this planet-destroying project, we should be focusing on working for a successful global climate treaty. In 1992 the first President Bush signed, and the Senate ratified, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in which America agreed to take action to avoid dangerous climate change. Yet the U.S. negotiating team refuses to agree to the cuts necessary to avert climate disruption. I urge you to direct the State Department negotiating team to commit our country to fair, ambitious and binding greenhouse gas reductions.

A smart way to do this, that would provide the most benefit to the American people, would be with The Carbon Limits & Energy for America's Renewal (CLEAR) Act--bipartisan climate change legislation authored by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susann Collins (R-ME). This act is an equitable way to tackle greenhouse gas emissions because it compensates the American public instead of special interest groups and historic polluters, and also aims to spur a rapid transition to carbon-free energy sources. At 39 pages, the CLEAR Act is also far simpler and more transparent than the convoluted 1,400-page cap-and-trade bills debated in the last Congress.

it hhas been decades action needs now. LEAD!

Do it NOW, we, the American People, have your back on this. The members of the GOP in Congress need to be shoved aside. I think they have not changed one iota since your re-election: their ongoing policy is to say "NO!" to EVERYTHING you propose, support, seek Congressional approval of, and/or have the support of the American People on. They are sticking to what they did in your first term: say "NO!" to anything and everything you, as our President are involved in.

I hope there's a way you can (pun intended) bulldoze them out of the way and take REAL ACTIONS to combat and stop Climate Change. I also hope you have the WILL to do this!

Get tough! Sometimes you come across as thinking too much and acting too little. DO IT!

The earth is crying out in pain. We knew how damaging and destructive the fossil fuel industry has been to our earth and it's atmosphere. They have deceived, have covered up, and manipulated their way through the years. This cannot continue to go on. The earth is heaving from the drilling, the blasting in the earth, the fracking, the removal of the natural landscape. Causing disruption in the ecosystem. Year after year we know/see the damage these dirty energy industries created. They are big/powerful. They have become monsters/killers in an unhanded way. They have protected themselves from being accountable. They have high power attorney's with contacts protecting them against any wrong doings. While people are dying of cancers, as they poison the water we depend on to live, as they fill the air with toxic fumes we need to breathe, as we watch them rape the landscape of it's natural beauty. This is our land, the land we need to grow food to live. There is no end to the corruption of big businesses. The have burdened us with so much through the years. The time has come to STOP this destruction! The notion that we need more drilling, more blasting, more fracking is wrong. We have the know how, the technology to create clean, renewable energy. Why are our lawmakers so beguiled by the coal/oil/gas industries? Money! It's always about money. We the people want clean energy! You the corporations are killing us for the sake money. I hope that our lawmakers, the ones the people so called elected start doing what the people want instead of thinking of your campaign contributions. There won't be enough money to take care of all the damage done if you don't change. You think you can control the people but you can't control the earth. She is the most powerful, she will take you down in one swift motion. If you continue to defy her, she will continue to beat you down with her anguish. There will be nothing you can do to stop her. You're not very good leaders if you can't see the forest through the trees. The time is now! Most of us have known these problems should have been addressed 50 years ago. We are still talking about the same problems now and little has changed. Who will have the guts to turn things around, to make clean energy happen? And,make it happen now! Stop the fracking, drilling, blasting or will we be doomed. Don't deny it, it's a fact.

Please step up quickly and take action on this MOST serious problem for our children and grandchildren.

We must take action now, before it is too late. Reducing and
then reversing pollution damage is essential to this planet's
well being. Please act NOW to reduce fossil fuel usage and
increase investing in solar and wind energy for the sake of
our children's future and our planet.

Dear Sandra,
I have made various calculations about the effectiveness of wind and solar (I was born and raised to adulthood in a cloudy climate) and even in California there isn't enough of either. If wind were the answer, would we not have been satisfied with sailboats? A full rigged ship can make use of breezes too light to do a wind turbine any good, and even if you have a rooftop of PV cells enough to give you 3 kW at noon on a clear day, unless it is motorized to follow the sun, simple trigonometry says that during the daytime, you'll get an average of 2 kW, and of course zero at night. The god thing about solar, unlike wind, is that when the heat of the sun makes for peak demand to power air conditioning, the light of the sun is supplying your solar generators.

Ten of the ARC-100 nuclear breeder reactors, delivering 100 MW each for 20 years on their initial fuel loads of 20.7 tons each, can shut down a base load coal burner, and don't need backup. For the next 20 years and so on, they'd each need less than two tons of un-enriiched, or even depleted uranium. There's enough of that lying about above ground to supply even our current profligate demand, all energy, for 200 years.
Oh, and in the unlikely event that something goes wrong and the cooling system (primary or secondary) fails, the design has been tested and worked perfectly.
It's actually very clever. The fuel rods are all metal, the coolant is liquid metal at atmospheric pressure, and when the whole business gets too hot, the metals expand, the spaces between the target atoms get just a tiny bit bigger, and the neutrons escape into the outer blanket. For instance, the atoms in a concrete shell stop neutrons.

We must act now, before it is too late. Reducing and even
reversing pollution damage is essential to the well being of our
children and this planet. Please take action NOW to reduce
fossil fuel usage and invest in solar and wind energy for the
sake of our future.

Man is in way over his head with Nuclear Plants, INTELLECTUALLY, TECHNOLOGICALLY, SAFETY WISE AND PERSONNEL WISE. Nuclear Plants are, and will remain, “Structural Frankenstein’s” with GREED as the Contractor!
They pose constant Unknown, Unforeseen and Unimaginable dangers to ourselves and our Environment due, among other things, to UNPREDICTABLE and UNCONTROLLABLE WEATHER CONDITIONS. They are not, in my opinion, a reasonable or economical solution to our energy problems. By the time we find this out, it will be too late! We began to see evidence of their potential danger, which we seem to have ignored, at the Three Mile Island Plant and Chernobyl. Fukushima is showing us just how dangerous.
And, may God help us, we haven't seen anything yet! Nor have we yet to see -and hopefully, not experience, the ultimate consequences of the Fukushima Disaster! What Unknown and Unimaginable potential danger do the Tanks at Fukushima holding 50 MILLION GALLONS of Radioactive Waste Water pose when these Tanks Rot -and they will eventually Rot, and release that Radioactive Water? Maybe DUMP it into the Pacific? It occurs to me more and more, that Technology, with its concomitant GREED, will eventually be our undoing! Where are we going to store OUR Continuing and Growing volumes of Nuclear Waste? IT CAN’T BE REUSED AND IT CAN’T BE RECLAIMED. And what are we going to store it in? Have we found any Containers yet that won’t ROT?
If we’re still around, and continuing to “screw up”, we are also going to run out of storage areas at some point in time! And I am an optimist!

aGREED!

NUCLEAR IS the ultimate energy source....but that source is our nearest star, the Sun....a safe distance away. Rather than playing with dynamite, we should be installing rooftop PV! It utilizes pre existing infrastructure, producing power where it is needed..ON SITE.

Manufacturing PV does produce toxics, but at least it doesn't directly threaten the food supply, like hydro does...(HYDRO, like NUCLEAR, is another ostensibly "CLEAN" source of electricity. IT IS NOT SO..NOT EVEN CLOSE)...........TIM

The reason the USA has failed to find renewable, sustainable, safe energy is that Carter and Clinton, both of whom should have known better, have placed insuperable obstacles in the way of nuclear power. There is exactly one way to dispose easily of plutonium, and that is to put it in a fast-neutron reactor and use it as fuel. One kg. of fissile plutonium, or of either of the fissile isotopes of uranium, can be coonverted into a kilo of short-lived fission products, and ten million kWh of electrical energy. A kWh means the energy required to supply one kilowatt of power for an hour. It's worth about ten cents, so the energy from about 2.2 lbs (a kg.) of fissile isotope is worth about a million dollars.
It takes a thousand tons of natural uranium to supply seven tons of U-235. But the neutron flux in a suitably designed reactor suffices to convert uranium into the "dreaded" plutonium. The USA presently gets about 6% of its electrical consumption from the incidental fission of plutonium. 1000 MW of nuclear power produces a minuscule amount of toxins, compared with a base load coal burner of gas turbine. It kills no birds or bats, and it does not require a helicopter to service it. The mining of a ton of uranium does not require the environmental damage involved in either fracking or blasting away a mountaintop to get at the coal.
What Tom does not realise is that the nuclear waste- if his figures are correct - is disappearing, which carbon dioxide, cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury do not. The more radioactive an isotope is the sooner it's gone. Besides, it is high time that the technology of the breeder reactor which the Clinton Administration canceled in 1994 was adopted. A week before Chernobyl, it had proven its meltdown-immune design, by deliberate test.
He's even wrong (In Capitals Too) about the nuclear waste being unusable. Fast neutron reactors can consume ALL of the trans-uranide waste, and there are even some elements, such as neodymium, in the fission products whose half-lives are so short that in a decade or two it might be profitable to separate them chemically from the still radioactive cesium. A kilo of nuclear waste is not a threat comparable to the millions of tons of poisons that are the reason we need something more powerful than 18th century resources to get ridof coal an hydrocarbons.

To quote Obama's State of the Union, "We need to preserve the environment, drill more, secure a sustainable future, destroy the environment, reduce our dependence on unrenewable resource, drill more, and provide all viewers with a terrible whiplash in an attempt to appeal to both parties."

When key scientists tell us that not building the KeystoneXL is critical to finally turn the tide it simply is the most important step to take and is a clear choice. The all of the above is simply more of everything including the most dirty carbon on the planet of TarSands the KeytoneXL will promote and mean game over. From the cancers showing up 10 times the normal to the huge devastation of land the size of illinois with the 35 spill and counting including KalamazooMI, simple not putting this as a critical carbon bomb to be exported to a world that needs to curtail their use is like exporting more terror and promoting the new oil state of Canada and our corrupt government.

Climate change is the single most important issue facing the planet earth. We can no longer avoid the harm we are inflicting upon her. We must act now. Let us fight against greed and evil and do the right thing. Mr. Obama please be the leader that I have hoped you would be. Act now.

Keep your word!

If things do not start turning around this year to stop climate change, it will be to late - there will be no turning back for our precious Earth!!!

this waste must stop!!!!!

help our planet!

This needs to be under taken now before its too late!

An insidious and cheap-to-fix effect has a lot more to do with ice melt than any gases. It's called soot. Those who live where it gets snowy and iced in winter know the benefits of simply dusting the sidewalks and streets with anything dark - ashes, sand, whatever. The dark matter absorbs the sunlight energy and melts the ice. Discover Magazine did a small article that indicted soot as a major player for ice melting. Sources of soot are not hard to discover. some, like forest fires, are a bit hard to contain. But any power plant, factory, or incinerator can cheaply and easily trap the soot particles. My factory had one - it was called a "bag house" - it had a lot of temperature resistant filter bags in it. When it got "full", we would put a 55 gallon drum under it, shake the dust into the drum, and then start the baghouse fan back up. The dust got recycled, and we beat even future guidelines.

THE TECHNOLOGY IS INEXPENSIVE.

It is high time the USA lead the community of nations in taking bold and courageous action to confront head-on the most challenging collective issue of our times: human-induced global climate change and show the way to a clean, sustainable, decentralized energy-production system. This will demostrate long-term vision and a responsible energy policy not beholden to short-term, private and limited financial interests. Mr. Obama can help make history and give credence to the USA being, once agin, a leader among the community of nations instead of a lack-luster, trailing, elephant-like country caught up in deep contradictions and subservient to the filthy fossil fuel lobby. These are trying times and we are all being tested: or we change decisively the way we power our homes and businesses, become more energy-rsponsible, cut down dramatically on the unbeliveable levels of waste taking place, or we face, together, a dire future, let alone leaving an earth worth living on to our children and grand children.

The USA has in fact a record to be proud of, in nuclear physics. Consider the names: Americium, Californium, Berkelium, Lawrencium, even Seaborgium. The last named after Glenn Seaborg, the first to synthesize plutonium, which he did without a reactor.
As it happens, the USA has had the answer for quite a long time, and part of the blame for not using it lies with my fellow-liberals, -environmentalists, and -haters of nuclear weapons. I have entertained the suspicion that some of the funding and encouragement for the idea that it is more important to shut down nuclear power plants than fossil carbon ones, is clandestinely provided by the carbon burning lobby.
One might guess that the oil and coal companies' support for wind turbines and solar power arise from the probability that they are no threat to the hegemony of carbon. Wind turbines produce about a third of their rated power, on average, in a good site, which is usually one that used to be unspoiled countryside.

There is a reactor design, at http://www.arcnuclear.com/, which is based upon research abandoned by the Clinton administration, although it had proven itself immune to meltdown by design and actual test. The test, performed successively upon both cooling circuits in the same day, took place a week or so strong>before the Chernobyl meltdown.
Their design is a renewable and sustainable technology, renewable because the reactor breeds fissile material as fast as it uses it up, and when it needsa fuel reload after 20 years operation the old fuel core(20.7 tons) is lifted out and a new or refurbished one loaded in. The reburbishing involves only the removal of a quantity of fission products - about 1.7 tons- and rebuilding it with a make-up quantity - 1.7 tons - of un-enriched or even depleted uranium. During those twenty years, this small reactor can run at its full 100 MW capacity almost all the time, the fuel core needs no attention.

The physical size of the reactor is about the same as the footprint needed to anchor a 5 MW wind turbine, which however requires a circle in the air of radius 80 to 100 metres. The wind turbine output averages a quarter to a third of its rated maximum. That of course is because the resource it uses, wind, is notoriously fickle.

By my calculations, it takes about a square mile of the best biofuel option, willow coppice, to produce one megawatt-year of energy in a year. You can look up the figures for acreages of wind turbines -- at 25% capacity factor, 800 of those monsters with hundred-yard long blades and rated at 5 MW. You can also see how well Southern California Edison, with a location as sunny as any in the USA, is faring with their solar projects, none of them more than 500 MW.

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